SUICIDE OF A CONTINENT AND REFUSAL OF A PACT
The Strange Death of Europe has been an instant bestseller. Many have realized how timely it is and also courageous in the face of the abuse and sometimes censorship that declaration of even the most obvious well-attested but politically incorrect facts can engender. While the book can of course be summarized or excerpted, it is best if it isn’t because it needs to be read right through from its initial claim Europe or its leaders are committing suicide, and experienced almost like opera and at that for the kind of literary Gotterdammerung it is.
Actually it does hold out some, but just not much, hope for Europe and ultimately the author feels uncertain about the precise future given the state of society, mood and trends he describes. I am a bit more willing and perhaps able to predict using the signposts he gives and others I would apply; but I can come to that later.
Strange Death records the stories, sets out the facts and expresses its quasi lament for the most part quietly in especially the earliest chapters; but there is a crescendo in later chapters which also widen the perspectives into art, philosophy and religion beyond the political and sociological starting points. In these regions Murray perceives a special “tiredness”, a sense that a society’s story has been told and that its vision having run out it is disconcertingly ready for almost any other theme no matter how much it ignores human rights and fails to appreciate its own past to which it does injustice, projecting onto both past and present unnatural, unparalleled levels of guilt.
Murray agrees with Edmund Burke that the present has a pact with both past and future generations. One cannot act purely in and for the immediate concern. Nor should one start like absurd former Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrick Reinfeldt, who has contemptuously declared Swedes are “uninteresting” and that “only barbarism is genuinely Swedish”, importing just anyone or anything from outside. Rather as there is a so-called inverted pride we seem to be looking at a kind of inverted racism among liberals. Murray would say Europe seems unable to balance and discriminate between the twin virtues of mercy and justice. It is all for mercy (though there is plenty of hypocrisy around it among those who stress it – not one pop star supposedly willing to house refugees has done so) but weak on justice. And that includes for the rights of people to have and define their own homes and values as they see fit. Some immigration is only right, but where are the wealthy societies from Saudi to Japan who welcome all or even any refugees? They reckon to keep their societies as they are and Europe doesn’t even criticize them for it.
MARKS OF AN EFFETE SOCIETY
There are passages of the book which are almost but not quite amusing like the telling account (I recognize it all too well) of the Heidelberg University conference which (I would say if Murray doesn’t precisely) reflects the effete nature of a contemporary Europe in advanced decadence. The subject of the conference is Europe’s relations with the Middle East and North Africa which then gets highjacked by the academically trendy deconstruction that prevents any conclusion being arrived at. “No generality could be attempted and no specific could be uttered… philosophy, ideas and language itself had been cordoned off as though around the scene of a crime…The aim of this game – for game it was – was to maintain the pretence of academic inquiry while making fruitful discussion impossible”.
Some of the book however, perhaps more especially in its later chapters, is beyond wit and irony to treat. It can be rather tragic or even stomach churning for the kind of disgust the facts may engender as when it describes attitudes and cover-up of situations like Sweden’s which included that by 2015 it had the worst record for rape in the world apart from Lesotho…but whatever the subject or place it’s mostly a case of don’t admit it, avoid the victims, don’t blame anyone, don’t punish anyone it might cause trouble; better just misreport and lie about it.
Most essentially, or at least when dealing with the politics, this is a book about alarming double-standards and dismissive arrogance on the part of a bumbling, often ignorant political elite at least partly influenced by dogmatic cultural Marxism. Rather than admit its obvious mistakes and make proper adjustments this elite prefers to ride roughshod over the will of those it governs, turning a blind eye to the behaviour and statements of those who may bully the weak, incite hatred and make mockery of the laws. Any critics or anyone in the way of the political and media elites are automatically dubbed “racist”, “fascist” or persons lacking “compassion”, words which stretch vocabulary beyond anything meaningful or true.
INEPT, ECCENTRIC LEADERSHIP
Murray doesn’t notably examine how and why the West and its democracy has produced quite such an inept, unattractive set of leaders in the first place. Perhaps it’s as well for reception of his book that someone educated at Eton and Cambridge doesn’t get into saying, as he could well, that modern leaders are too often neo-barbarians, vulgarians who neither know or appreciate history and European culture sufficiently to be able to define and defend it and that whole world of Shakespeare, St Paul, Dante, Goethe, Voltaire, Bach, Rembrandt, etc with which Murray would associate the West. This situation could be, I suspect, one aspect of a complex problem in its own right.
An extreme specialization in learning at a time of emphasis upon both scientific knowledge and social equality has led to policies which can render centres of higher education stamping grounds for everyone from sportsmen to engineers as much as centres of the humanities and learned debate that universities were by tradition. This has helped create not no elites – no policies favouring equality will abolish such – but blinkered, half ignorant, purely materialistic ones. It does so in those areas of what are, or should be, “shared values”. But what are these? They are now democratically allowed to be little more than those on offer from popular culture which Murray rightly considers to be of “almost impossible shallowness” and thus to live only in and for the moment. This does not foster vision or prepare minds for real leadership.
Previously statesmen like Churchill were known to feed their minds and spend spare time on everything from Shakespeare and Jane Austen to Edward Gibbons. But apart from the nullities of popular culture (Prime Ministers almost need to name their favourite pop groups!) there is ever less impulse to know anything beyond one’s particular field of specialization. And almost no field imposes any kind of social and leadership style either. Anything goes fit for a Glastonbury festival. If TV star Joan Collins and the Italians are right that a person is how they dress, then what to make of the likes of the extraordinarily styleless Chancellor Merkel, ambling to every conference like a washerwoman to the laundry with her plain Jane hairdo and in her eternal trousers in which she possibly seeks to make herself one of the men? Merkel gradually becomes one of the villains of Murray’s narrative of catastrophe; but if looks counted for anything, would a person of her style and appearance have been entrusted with power in the first place? Arguably it’s a last gasps culture doesn’t question this and has even cheerfully dubbed this childless, iron fist and anything but maternal woman as Mutti (Mummy).
Murray makes a vital slip over one point as regards modern Christianity. Commenting upon conversions to Islam sometimes born from despair of finding any meaning beyond pleasure in current society, he observes that not only has Christianity become less a religion than an aspect of social services and a mouthpiece of socialist politics, but it is a faith that has ceased to proselytize. This is and isn’t true. It touches on something very important Murray doesn’t explore and I briefly will.
CHRISTIANS IN THE CROSS HAIRS
It is just one more injustice and cover-up of the existing situations that the elites will defend or at least excuse in the name of “multiculturalism” and “diversity” almost any propaganda and values however dubious while they may vigorously oppose anything like propaganda from Christians. It is true enough that Christianity is not getting promoted by any of its leaders who might enjoy some media coverage to do so; but they anyway scarcely protest (or are not reported by media for protesting), often horrendous persecution of Christians today around the world And the persecution is something not uniquely but considerably a feature of Muslim majority societies from Sudan to Afghanistan though the new liberal politics won’t acknowledge it and won’t speak the word “genocide”.
However….although among an appeasing state religion clergy there is no active proselytizing there is some will to promote the faith among the laity. But every day and on the ground, the reality is that proselytizing is virtually illegal now in Britain. It is so in such a way as to make nonsense of former PM David Cameron reference to England as a Christian society. A proper loyalty to the Christian legacy is simply absent.
Forget all the ridiculous cases around even wearing small crosses in the workplace, witness the case of a Christian therapist, Victoria Wasteney. She has been suspended from her position with the NHS and recently lost a second appeal all because a Muslim woman whom she thought was a friend and with whom she imagined she was discussing her faith as requested and so offered her a book to read – decided the connection amounted to “harassment”. (In fairness, according to report on the case by The Telegraph goo.gl/rabuBW the woman may have been somewhat pressured to take the line she did by those of anti Christian prejudice within the NHS system. “Multiculturalism” is increasingly a pretext to sideline the inherited faith or even attack Christians).
A situation like this needs to be compared for the purposes of warning with a couple of recent cases in Pakistan where even Christian teenagers have been arrested for “blasphemy” because they merely answered supposed school friends’ questions about their religious difference. It would seem one is not advised to discuss anything religious or political with Muslims less they suddenly cry foul and perhaps because friendship can never quite be assumed to the extent the Koran commands infidels never be taken as friends (Q 3:28). But then if Christians ignored Muslim would they not be accused of “racism”, and “prejudice” and “apartheid” mentality?
This situation presents an impasse that Christians and Westerners of any belief or none need to absorb fast. You can’t be safely ideological or theological in some circles today unless like Ayaan Hirsi Ali you want to have twenty four hour police protection. Muslims are liable to claim all the rights to freedom of expression for themselves alone and blinkered liberals and cultural Marxists will support them. And as Murray so ominously points out in a different connection, fundamentalists always win within Islam – there have always been Muslim reformers but in over a thousand years they have never won. That point is recently certified even since the publication of Strange Death by the way that Berlin’s first liberal mosque open to women and gays has received three thousand death threats to its female imam within a short period of opening. Yet multiculturalists, multifaithers and such like today still stake everything on the questionable hope that somehow the West and modern values will charm, persuade and prevail.
Despite all the media and social media influences, to date there is no evidence of western values percolating unless perhaps in Iran where there is a major quiet revolt against the status quo by under thirties along with, some claim, a substantial growth in underground Christianity. More typically, a Pakistani Christian like Asia Bibi languishes for years in jail on death row for the crime of having as a filthy infidel drunk from a Muslim’s water bowl on a hot day (in Pakistan Christians and minorities are seen fit only to be servants and sewage workers) and, when provoked about her rotten faith, committed the “blasphemy” of asking did Mohammed die for sins like Jesus. Thousands of fanatical Muslims periodically march in the streets calling for the unfortunate woman’s death and that of other “blasphemers” and in fear of them courts and politicians constantly delay appeal going through. Western countries barely protest such unacceptable situations and still pour out aid into Pakistan helping it to feel justified in its attitudes. And the Dalai Lama absurdly disinforms a reverent Joanna Lumley for British TV that Islam is about love and forgiveness just like all the other religions.
ONE-SIDED HUMAN RIGHTS AND TWO LAYERED REALITY
It is fundamental to democracy and human rights that beliefs and ideas be discussed. It even happens to be a Christian duty for promote the faith – it is Christ’s last counsel to his disciples. This human right and religious duty, both, are nearly everywhere and always denied and penalized in Muslim societies where all minorities if tolerated are treated as inferiors. But instead of encouraging different views, or protesting manifest wrongs, everyone from cultural Marxists to, do-gooder liberals, atheistic humanists, double standard feminists (who prefer to see the positive in sharia cover up over the oppression of their overseas sisters [ 1] ) and weak Loadicean Christians, nothing vital is protested, defended or done.
One merely offended woman’s feelings must be protected in once Christian Britain more strongly than the entire western tradition of the freedom of speech and ideas. Small wonder leaders of the Middle Eastern churches have spoken of their horror at the non-supportive position of the “Christian” West which has hardly reported the tortures and executions of thousands of Christians with the destruction of their homes and history. They would not have been altogether wrong if against the West and its churches they had quoted the Christ of Revelation to the lukewarm of Laodicea: “I will vomit you forth” (Rev 3:16).
The current cultural situation so rife with lies and appeasement makes it a little easier to predict the future than even Murray allows. He is of course correct when he observes that religions like societies abhor a vacuum. Something will come to replace what is not doing its job, not least Christianity and a convenient secularism that doesn’t answer to many needs. Sometimes I feel one could almost rewrite the words of the biblical prophets or the Lamentations of Jeremiah for today’s society. They warned of how rejection of the divine and most standards necessarily brings in its wake the “judgement” of an imposition upon the faithless society from an alien outside as divine protection and favour are withdrawn. The opportunity won for the development and exercise of western ideas, Christian and other, by the victory of Charles Martel at Tours in 732 could be seen as providential; but modern secularist rejection of God and reasonable standards withdraws opportunity and divine favour. God ordains and respects freewill even if humanity doesn’t and free choices can be made which will entail loss of liberty.
This of course is to assume there are not just physical but metaphysical laws which deliver as surely as the physical ones. The Christian creed declares “I believe in all things visible and invisible”. “Our war is not with flesh and blood….” as St Paul had it. Modern Christianity, most of the West and Murray himself under the influence of science and “reason” believe as never before in the visible; but not in the invisible world that so often for good and ill calls the tune.
Although invisible worlds and laws are often dismissed to the regions of blind faith, we can glimpse traces of them and also that uttering of knowledge by the night skies to which the Psalms refer, in the esoteric discipline of astrology with which Christianity – which despises or rejects the system – virtually began. We see it for example when we note strange coincidences like the fact that at Murray’s birth (16th July 1979 in London) asteroid Europa was in traditional death sign Scorpio and on the day that his book was released (May 4th) fortunate Venus was conjunct his natal Fama (fame).
I will say a bit more about and conclude with Murray’s pattern but what the celestial signs more broadly indicate for everyone is that the story has indeed been told, things have run out. There really is what Murray calls a “tiredness” and there is a major threat to freedom that poor leadership cannot address. But at the end of the age of Pisces to whose onset the birth of Christ approximately corresponded, there is only one scenario remains namely apocalypse, the great apostasy and more than apostasy under an Antichrist and then the completely new and divine order of the Millennium. But for the immediate future, apocalypse and Antichrist belong to the Great Lie, the deception which is permitted to manifest because the peoples will not love truth (2 Thess 2:11). Which it is painfully clear today they or their leaders don’t. People hear what they want to hear and believe about events only what is convenient, censoring out half of reality itself.
A BOOK VISIONARY AND FATED
A few more words about Murray’s data. Personally I believe The Strange Death of Europe, was the book Murray had to write, was fated to write and which functions somewhat prophetically. I have already mentioned the Europa/Scorpio connection. Also very relevant to writing so contentiously about Europe and also religion and being divided in his mind about the latter (he passes as a Christian atheist) is that he has aggressive, crusading Mars in Gemini. This is the sign not just of duality and languages but of both Europe and also the Christianity which was born under Gemini amid a speaking in tongues and whose heartland, despite its intended international outreach, has long been Europe.
Fame, influence and bestseller status is all but guaranteed by the conjunction of fortunate and publishing relevant Jupiter to Mercury (any writing and communication) in dramatic Leo which expects to be noticed and have an audience. Both the fortune in writing and the difficulty of the subjects broached is shown by the fact that Mercury at 14+ Leo is not only conjunct one of the six world points but conjunct what is deemed the most difficult and unfortunate of those world points, namely 15 Leo.
A certain near reckless courage in Murray such as most politicos and churchman notably lack, has been necessary to pursue the views and express the opinions that he has done. This is mapped by especially his moon in bellicose Aries and in strife (square aspect) to his sun. this goading him into action from a degree of irritation. The moon is however in agreeable trine aspect to Neptune and this quietens the expression of his anger while it makes for a certain poetizing – one reviewer has seen the book as almost a threnody for Europe.
On the whole however he is not a poet but all of a practical busy bee in harmony with his Saturn in Virgo and one who loves and defends the home turf – no sun sign is more home loving and patriotic than Cancer or else more careless of such values. This is why Cancerian Merkel is almost Murray’s fated shadow figure in Jungian terms, the bad mother of the Great Mother sign.
Altogether Murray is a one of a kind, original. The planet of all originality, eccentricity and genius at 16 Scorpio conjuncts his Murray name at 17. Uranus is also the chief signifactor in natal patterns for gayness. Murray who is gay (and with some of the “in your face” attitudes of the gay psyche), is ultimately one of Jung and Liz Greene’s aspiring gay Puers psychologically – necessarily so. Even as a teenager he was writing a highly sophisticated, pioneering biography of Lord Alfred Douglas (no relative though the Scots influence is strong for both), Oscar Wilde’s lover.
I don’t know Murray’s birth time so can only guess, but if as is quite possible it was around 11.45 am with Libra rising, then the pattern would become still more remarkable including that Europa in Scorpio at 28 of the sign would be smack on the cusp of his third house for any writing. The Part of Fortune would be conjunct the career/reputation Midheaven which is always suggestive of fame and success, and Fama (fame) would be strong conjunct the descending angle which gives an audience. Veritas (truth to fact) would be conjunct the ascendant confirming a truth telling prophetic role, but also Alfreda would be conjunct the persona defining ascendant. Asteroids used to be registered in feminine form and Alfreda definitely works in the chart of Wilde for his lover Alfred. It would be fitting if an early obsession with Alfred by Murray was registered by its conjunction on the rising. The present book is dedicated to friend and guide Stanley. Asteroid Stanley in happy trine to asteroid Murray nicely covers for that detail.
Douglas Murray is no ordinary person writing at no ordinary point in history. The times we live in, but then also existence itself if we add the hidden order of reality, are more remarkable than we can ever quite hope to absorb.
(1) Last February despite pleas from Iranian feminists they would not do it, feminist representatives of the Swedish government presented themselves in Iran wearing headscarves. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/13/swedens-feminist-government-criticized-for-wearing-headscarves-in-iran/?utm_term=.aa8eaabc3cea
My own and a poetic version of a dying Europe theme can be found here http://wp.me/p2v96G-gY The poem, Beyond Dover Beach, was composed in 2013 which is to say a couple of years before the major crises and refugee influx of 2015